Goodguys Truck of the Year Late Retrospective
You’d be hard pressed to find a hot rodder or classic vehicle enthusiast who doesn’t have a story or two about an old truck. Whether it’s a shop truck, parts hauler, work vehicle, or a finely crafted show truck, most of us have tales to tell that involve a classic truck of one sort or another.
Nobody knows this better than our friends at LMC Truck, a company that specializes in reproduction and repair parts for pickups from the 1940s through nearly new models. LMC has been a Goodguys supporter and sponsor for years – you’re probably familiar with them as the sponsor of the LMC Truck of the Year Late award, part of the annual Goodguys Top 12. And if you own a truck, you likely have one of the company’s catalogs sitting on your workbench.
We were excited to team up with LMC Truck for a special Truck Showcase at the Spring Lone Star Nationals this year. The goal was to highlight the popularity of trucks in our hobby with a special parking area, truck-first track cruise, a separate truck AutoCross competition, and other cool truck-focused features. Unfortunately, mother nature and the onset of the Coronavirus crisis conspired to cancel that event before it could truly get rolling.
While the fun we had planned for that weekend had to be put on hold, our desire to celebrate vintage trucks did not diminish. Quite the opposite, in fact. And one of the most appropriate ways we could think of to share our enthusiasm for custom haulers was to look back at the best ones we’ve seen over the past two decades. Fortunately, the team at LMC Truck was gracious enough to work with us on presenting this special showcase of past Truck of the Year winners, both Late and Early.
Goodguys was already presenting several “Of the Year” awards by the late-1990s, but the tremendous growth of the classic truck market at that time made it apparent we needed a special award for vintage pickups. It turns out we needed two, as the different eras had their own distinct build styles, trends, and followers. The dividing line has moved a little through the years, with Truck of the Year Late now recognizing 1960-87 pickups, and Truck of the Year Early showcasing ’59-and-earlier models.
Looking back through the 20 years of winners, you can definitely see a dividing line between decades. The first 10 years of the 2000s saw many two-tone paint jobs, flames, graphics, and other trends consistent with what was happening with rodding at the time. The last decade has seen more solid colors, bigger wheels, and often more elaborate modifications. Like the rest of the hobby, top-tier truck builds seem to be getting more sophisticated and refined each year. In last month’s Gazette we presented features on the 2019 Truck of the Year winners, so we’ll be focusing on 2000-2018 in this retrospective.
As part of its mission statement to customers, LMC Truck talks about the American pickup being “an invaluable tool to help us do our jobs, and equally important when it’s time to play.” Now more than ever, this country needs the work value of our trucks, as well as the dream of what we can do when it’s time to play. We hope you’ll enjoy this look back Truck of the Year Late winners and we look forward to seeing all your cool trucks when it’s time to come out and play at a Goodguys event later this year.
CLICK HERE if you missed the Truck of the Year Early Retrospective posted yesterday.
Paul Kruger’s ’64 GMC was a bridge between the late-’90s and the new century. It retained many elements of earlier trends in terms of graphics and 17-inch wheels, with craftsmanship and refinement that looked toward the future. Paul’s truck was unusual in that it was a GMC and a stepside, but builder Steve Cook – who would go on to win Ridler Awards and multiple Goodguys Top 12s – turned Paul’s family heirloom into a stunner. The show-quality chassis incorporated street-rod-level detailing and elements like a Halibrand quick-change rearend, with a fuel-injected ’96 Chevy LT4 engine under the tall cowl-induction hood. The bright blue finish with yellow and orange striping turned plenty of heads, as did the polished Boyd’s wheels. In addition to incredible fit, finish, and detail outside, the full-custom interior went well beyond the norm for classic trucks of the time, with sculpted leather over bucket seats, a full-length console, and a highly modified dash with Auto Meter gauges leading the way.
Like a mirage rising from the desert, David Kimmerle’s Phoenix-based ’56 F100 had a cool style that just seemed to draw everyone in. Built by the skilled team at Arizona Street Rods, the truck was a true ground-up build that started with smoothed and boxed frame rails that were updated with a Heidts independent front suspension and Aldan coil-over shocks. Budnik Famosa wheels were a popular choice for the era – as were the 16- and 17-inch sizes. While many enthusiasts were putting Chevy engines in their ’50s Ford trucks, David kept his all-Ford with a polished DOHC 4.6-liter modular engine backed by an overdrive transmission. The Ford body retained its classic character, receiving only minor custom touches like filled vents, precise gaps, a reverse-opening hood, and tucked bumpers. The tasteful finish was PPG Vermont Green, a ’98 Ford color. The Ford was just as clean and tasteful inside with buckskin-colored leather stitched by Lance Troup, resulting in a combination that still looks great today.
Darrell & Tim Cimbanin
“We didn’t set out to build a show truck.” How many times have those words been uttered, only to result in a true showstopper like Darrel and Tim Cimbanin’s bright orange ’55 Chevy? The brothers, who run Cimtex Rods in Texas, started with a beat-up (but rust-free) pickup and chopped the top, swapped on a pie-cut ’57 hood, recessed the headlights, built a custom grille, smoothed the bed, and executed a host of other metal mods before spraying the House of Kolor Candy Pearl Orange finish. The chassis was no less custom, with a Camaro front subframe, Fatman control arms, and inboard leaf springs suspending the 9-inch rearend and massive wheels and tires. Power came from a fuel injected 396c.i. stroker small-block Chevy backed by an Art Carr 700R4 transmission. Inside, the brothers convinced legendary Texas upholsterer Vernon McKean to postpone his retirement and stitch up Cadillac bucket seats in beautiful bone-colored leather.
1969 Chevrolet C10
The popularity of Chevy C10 pickups is not new, as evidenced by Michal Hall’s silver ’69 model capturing the Truck of the Year Late honor back in 2003. The Chevy was a 10-year owner-built project in which Michael stretched the cab 6-inches (lengthening the doors, roof, and rockers), added a ’67 front clip, tucked the front bumper, crafted a custom grille, built a custom bed and tailgate, and used reversed cab corners to build extensions on the rear fenders. It was topped with PPG silver paint sprayed by Zig Ebel. A modified frame with an ’86 Chevy front suspension and 9-inch rearend brought the pickup down nice and low over 17-inch Boyd Coddington wheels. A ZZ4 crate engine topped with tuned-port injection provided power and was detailed with red paint, which coordinated well with the bright red Ultraleather upholstery stitched over Lexus bucket seats and custom door panels. The modified dash incorporated VDO gauges, Pioneer tunes, and Vintage Air climate controls.
1956 Ford F100
Don Hachenberger’s bright orange F100 was one of those snowball stories of a truck that started out as a more modest project and became an over-the-top showpiece. Built by Rob MacGregor and his team at No Limit Engineering, the truck’s foundation was a hand-built No Limit tube chassis with a Wide Ride IFS built from polished stainless steel and a Dutchman independent rear suspension, with air suspension and Wilwood disc brakes all around. The chassis supported a monster 610c.i. big-block Ford topped with a BDS 14-71 blower and FAST EFI, with lots of chrome and polish. The smoothed Ford cab was one of the few original Ford pieces – a Gibbon fiberglass tilt front and rear fenders and Pro’s Pick bed made up the rest of the body, all bathed in bright orange PPG paint by Jimenez Brothers Customs. Finished off with a hand-crafted dash and tan leather upholstery inside, this was a potent, high-impact ’56 that definitely captured the attention of the truck world.
1956 Ford F100
Both the 2004 and 2005 Truck of the Year Late winners were ’56 F100s, but Rick Clutter’s bright yellow masterpiece was drastically different than Don Hachenberger’s the year before. It was designed by Chip Foose, built by California’s Super Rides by Jordan, was a Great 8 finalist for the 2005 Ridler Award, and was altered in about every way possible. Modifications included a chopped top, vertically lengthened cab and doors, channeled body, flip-forward front end, custom bumpers, smooth running boards, and shaved trim, all under a brilliant House of Kolor Spanish Gold finish. The custom chassis was equally trick and smooth, with a Heidts IFS and triangulated four bar rear, RideTech Shockwaves, and 18- and 20-inch Boyd Coddington wheels. The 502c.i. Chevy big block was blown, injected, and doused in polish and chrome. Inside, tan and black leather upholstery by Armando’s wore trick pinstripe-like stitching accents, while a ’57 Chevy car gauge cluster was incorporated into the dash. This Ford definitely raised the bar!
1957 Ford F100
Gary Coe’s “F157” Ford was a true game changer. It went beyond the standard concept of a modified truck and entered the realm of sophisticated design and craftsmanship embraced by top-tier street rods – all on the less-popular ’57 F100 body style. Designed by Dave Brost and built by Steve’s Auto Restorations, the bright red Ford’s radically altered body was sectioned 1.5-inches, had a two-inch top chop, wore a fabricated, forward-leaning tailgate, and featured a sectioned and lengthened hood over a redesigned nose. Front and rear bumpers were modified Econoline pieces. A custom chassis incorporated Heidts suspension components, Baer brakes, and a Kenne Bell supercharged 4.6-liter Ford engine backed by an AOD transmission. The inside was clean and tasteful, with light tan leather stitched over the bench seat and custom dash pad, with ’96 Mustang Cobra gauges well integrated into the design. Coe’s Ford not only looked incredible and won awards, it also completed the Hot Rod Power Tour.
1959 Chevrolet Apache
Jim and Donna Stach’s ’59 Chevy has the distinction of being the only Apache to capture the Goodguys Truck of the Year crown. Dubbed “Koolant” thanks to the lower color of the DuPont two-tone hues, the truck capitalized on Jet-age late-’50s elements, with custom taillights capping the rocket-like bed-side bustles, a ’59 Chevy passenger-car dash incorporated into the cab, and bullet-shaped trim pieces sprinkled throughout. Zoomer’s Automotive gets credit for the build, which included a TCI front suspension with RideTech Shockwaves, parallel leaf rear with RideTech air springs, Baer disc brakes, and 20- and 22-inch Billet Specialties wheels. A ’66-vintage 327 provided power, aided by tuned-port EFI, a one-off air intake, and 700R4 automatic overdrive. In addition to the aforementioned passenger car dash, the interior sported Classic Instruments gauges, Vintage Air, a scaled-down ’56 Bel Air wheel atop a Flaming River column, and tasteful, classic-style tan cloth and leather upholstery stitched by PJs.
1956 Ford F100
Harold Robinson’s Ford was part of a string of ’56 F100s to win the Truck of the Year crown in the first decade of the 2000s. Built by Michael’s Rod Shop in North Carolina, the big-window Ford had plenty of nipping and tucking – front wheel openings moved forward, enlarged rear fenders, a shortened Dennis Carpenter bed, rounded door corners, and smooth running boards. The two-tone topcoat of PPG Galapagos Green and Olive Silver were right in line with the era. The truck rode low over 20-inch Budnik wheels thanks to a Fatman chassis with RideTech Shockwaves for adjustable height, Wilwood brakes, and a 454c.i. big block Chevy crate engine for plenty power. The inside was especially trick, with a sculpted steel dash flowing into a center console, filled with Classic Instruments dials in a Nissan gauge pod. Green leather covered the bucket seats and floors inside, while the bed was treated to an exotic South African lace wood floor.
1968 Ford F100
Kirk Johnson’s stunning silver ’68 Ford F100 was not only Kirk’s first vehicle (bought in 1979 when he was 17), but also the first late-’60s Ford to become a Goodguys Truck of the Year. Built by Roseville Rod & Custom, the truck got a great stance courtesy of a TCI independent front suspension and a TCI four-link rear suspension with coil-overs, along with Wilwood disc brakes and one-off 18- and 20-inch wheels whittled by EVOD evoking vintage Shelby Mustang rollers. Ford power was retained under the hood with a 428c.i. Cobra Jet equipped with Edelbrock heads and induction, Sanderson headers, and a C6 transmission. Subtle body mods included filled seams, adjusting the angle on the rear of the cab, tucked bumpers, a narrowed grille, custom side trim, and glistening silver paint. The Mustang influence was continued inside, with a modified dash, Auto Meter gauges, black leather upholstery over Acura bucket seats, and a Shelby-style wood-rimmed steering wheel as a perfect finishing touch.
1956 Ford F100
Barry Blomquist’s ’56 F100 was emblematic of the first decade of the 2000s – two-tone paint, slick and subtle mods, and first-rate build quality. Designed by Eric Brockmeyer, built by Roadster Shop, and influenced by Barry’s ’32 Ford roadster (another Roadster Shop build), the truck sported scratch-built aluminum running boards, box, and tailgate, plus a chopped and pancaked top, rounded door corners, one-piece door glass, a pancaked hood, relocated front wheel openings, recessed driving lights, and custom stainless moldings to complement the black and tan PPG paint. The Roadster Shop-built frame was set up with a Heidts independent front and rear suspensions, RideTech Shockwaves, Wilwood disc brakes, and 20- and 22-inch Billet Specialties wheels, with power coming from a Word Products 509c.i. big-block Chevy topped with Hilborn EFI and backed by a Tremec five-speed. Cool details filled the cab, which sported black-and-tan leather upholstery on bucket seats, a trio of center-mounted Classic Instruments gauges, and a Budnik steering wheel.
Travis Noack and Jason Hill
1956 Ford F100
Combine the building talents of Jason Hill of Hill’s Hot Rods and the passion of Street Trucks staffer Travis Noack and the result is this stellar ’56 F100. This one had plenty of body mods to enhance the classic Ford shape, including a pancaked roof and hood, flush-mounted glass, radiused door corners, raised and reshaped wheel openings, a custom bed with flush-mounted taillights, and a rolled rear pan. PPG Spiced Rum and Cream paint made for a striking two-tone treatment. The truck was supported by a ground-hugging chassis from No Limit with IFS, a four-link locating the 9-inch rearend, and 20-inch Bonspeed Quasar wheels. Ford Racing provided the power for this beauty – a BOSS 302 with Holley induction, MSD ignition, Doug’s Headers, and Magnaflow exhaust. Finished off with gorgeous custom leather upholstery and a cool leather dash insert by Jimmy Davis at JD Glassworks, this big-window beauty had all the right elements to capture the crown.
Amy Melton’s two-tone ’55 Chevy pickup was completed on the eve of the event where it became a Truck of the Year finalist, the 2012 Lone Star Nationals. The truck had sat neglected for years in the garage before Amy and her husband Steve took it to A&R Restorations for a complete custom rebuild. Extensive body mods included plenty of shaving and smoothing, a custom grille, passenger car front bumper, and hand-made bed with molded rear fenders, frenched taillights, and a Nomad-influenced tailgate, complete with vertical trim strips. Beautiful two-tone paint topped off all the mods. Matt Peace of Torq’d Design built the custom chassis using suspension components from Heidts and RideTech, along with Wilwood discs and Schott wheels. And like any proper Texas truck, this one was equipped with big power in the form of a healthy 502c.i. Chevy big block breathing through Street & Performance headers. Finished off with an equally custom cabin, Amy’s Chevy was a true Texas treat.
Alan Beers’ amazing ’57 Chevy was a Great 8 finalist at the Detroit Autorama before becoming the Goodguys 2013 LMC Truck of the Year Late. Built by the Hot Rod Garage in Oklahoma, the Chevy wore custom touches from top to bottom, starting with a 3-inch top chop, flush-mounted glass, pie-cut hood, reshaped nose, and a hand-crafted bed designed to flow with the shape of the cab and fenders. It even had a full belly pan! The sheet metal was bathed in two-tone Sherwin-Williams silver paint, augmented by a custom grille and a trick machined taillight assembly from Greening Auto Company. Underneath, the custom frame used a Fatman IFS, 9-inch rearend, Bilstein coil-overs, Baer brake rotors with custom calipers, and 20- and 22-inch wheels machined by Greening. Power came from a 540c.i. big block with vintage Crower fuel injection stacks converted to EFI. Chuck Rowland crafted the interior using raspberry leather, one-off seats, and Classic Instruments gauges with Greening-machined bezels in the custom dash.
What if Chevrolet had offered a Corvette-themed pickup in 1957? It might have looked something like Gary Brown’s black beauty built by Mike Goldman Customs. Pop open the doors and there was a dose of America’s Sports Car with a modified ’67 Corvette dash and bright red leather upholstery covering Corvette-style seats and a matching console. It contrasted nicely with the smooth black body that featured shaved drip rails, rounded corners, a massaged bed, and custom belly pans. Corvette-style handling came in the form of a modified Roadster Shop chassis with an RS front suspension, chromed Kugel independent rear suspension, Wilwood discs, and 20- and 22-inch Schott Velocity wheels. There was plenty of power thanks to an all-aluminum ZL1 454, number 39 of only 200 produced, which was fed with an Imagine injection system, ground smooth, satin finished, and backed with a Richmond five-speed. Classic Chevy steel with sports car power and handling? That was a killer combo, indeed!
1962 Dodge Sweptline Quad Cab
Tim Molzen is a familiar sight in AutoCross competition with his ’63 Dart, but in 2015 he stormed the scene with this decidedly different ’62 Dodge Sweptline quad-cab pickup built by Roger Burman and his team at Lakeside Rods and Rides. Burman started the build with a Roadster Shop frame, setting it up with coil-overs, Wilwood disc brakes, and 20-inch wheels from Hot Rods by Boyd. They kept things all-Mopar with a 360c.i. small block backed by a Torqueflite automatic and Gear Vendors overdrive. The body actually combined a ’69 cab with a ’62 front clip, all of which was beautifully massaged before applying the Western Brown PPG paint with satin tan accents. Inside, Dodge Intrepid front seats and a rear bench were covered in two-tone diamond-stitched brown leather, while the dash was fitted with Dakota Digital instruments and a Billet Specialties wheel. Tim’s Dodge is likely the longest Truck of the Year winner on our list!
1961 Ford F100
Long overlooked for high-end builds, early-’60s F100s have plenty of custom potential, as evidenced by Todd Williams’ bronze unibody crafted by Jason Graham Hot Rods, a builder better known for early hot rods. Graham got this one right, updating the stock frame with front and rear suspensions from Porterbuilt and an AccuAir E-Level system to get the truck down on the deck over 22-inch Schott wheels backed by CPP brakes. A 5.0-liter Coyote engine was dressed, detailed, and backed with a 4R70 overdrive automatic. Subtle mods abound on the body, which was treated to a two-inch top chop, shaved drip rails, one-piece door glass, tucked bumpers, custom inner bed panels, and one-off tailgate. It was all topped with a deep, rich PPG Mahogany Pearl finish. Gray leather upholstery created some contrast inside, where the dash was fitted with CON2R gauges and a Budnik wheel atop an ididit column. Low, smooth, and cool, this sweet ’61 made a lot of people take notice of this less-common F100.
1966 Chevy C10
Randy Marston’s ’66 C10, dubbed “Unruly,” was a force to be reckoned with in 2017. Built by Roger Burman of Lakeside Rods and Rides – whose build had won Truck of the Year Late two years prior – the Chevy’s many mods began when the sides of the hood were welded to the fenders and a new opening moved inboard. A new grille opening was filled with a custom Alumicraft insert, while the cab got one-piece door glass and shaved drip rails. Around back, the tailgate was leaned forward, topped with a spoiler, and flanked by custom taillights. Camaro bumpers were sliced to fit both ends and the body was bathed in a silver PPG finish. A Roadster Shop REVO chassis sports a cantilevered rear suspension, air springs, Wilwood brakes, and 19- and 20-inch Schott wheels motivated by a supercharged 850hp LS7. Finished off with a modern leather interior featuring Dodge Intrepid seats and Dakota Digital gauges in a custom dash, and this unruly Chevy was tough to beat.
1968 Chevy C10
One of just two ’67-72 C10s in our Truck of the Year Late lineup, Alex Short’s two-tone ’68 showcases a laundry list of body mods by DeCol’s Speed Shop, including hand-fabricated inner bed panels and inner front inner fenders and tubs, a custom-built rolled rear pan with dual exhaust exits flanking the license plate, and relocated hood hinges. Bodie Stroud Industries laid down the custom turquoise and white finish, while Ogden Chrome nickel plated the front bumper, grille and headlight bezels. The truck’s stock frame was boxed by DeCol’s Speed Shop, then set up with Porterbuilt front and rear suspensions with AccuAir air ride, Wilwood disc brakes, and deep-dish Billet Specialties wheels. Power comes from a Magnuson-supercharged LS3 engine backed by a 4L80E transmission. The hand-built dash inside is fitted with Classic Instruments gauges, while JJ Upholstery used Hydes leather to cover the seats. Like any good sport truck, this one has a boomin’ sound system with Kicker components.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this look back at some dream trucks from the past 20 years. Just like the trucks themselves, we realize that pickup-related dreams come in all different sizes, shapes, and styles. Whether your aspirations are to craft an all-out show machine, a weekend cruiser, or simply to keep an older workhorse alive and kicking, remember that LMC Truck has the parts you need to fulfill your vision.
From bumpers and sheet metal for Advanced Design Chevys, to grilles for F1 and F100 Fords, to gas tanks and carpet kits for ’70s-era Dodges, LMC Truck has the replacement parts, upgrade components, performance and customization pieces you need for domestic pickups and SUVs from the late-1940s through the 1990s and beyond. We invite you check out their vast selection at www.LMCTruck.com, where you can research and order parts or request one of the company’s many model-specific truck catalogs.